WEST DEPTFORD TWP. — Plans to increase the size of the West Deptford police department’s K-9 Unit from two to three dogs advanced Wednesday with the receipt of a check for $7,500 from 4 Heroes Charity Inc.
The organization’s chairman, former Camden K-9 officer Les Whinna, and its president, his daughter Daneen Whinna, made the presentation at the township committee meeting.
Cpl. Mike Franks, who famously had to have his retired dog, Judge, euthanized in February because of illness and disease, now works with a dog named Tazor. Ptl. Joseph Lamalfa and his dog, Mako, make up the rest of the unit.
The acquisition of a third dog will allow for a K-9 team t be assigned to each of the three shifts, said Police Chief Samuel DeSimone.
Les Whinna, Franks, Lamalfa, unit commander Lt. John Chambers and the newly chosen K-9 officer, Ptl. Narcisso Vergara, will fly to Texas in June to choose the new dog from 65 possibilities. The K-9 unit is covering airfare. The five men will stay in a dormitory at the K-9 facility there at no extra charge.
Whinna said since 4 Heroes — police, fire, military and first responder personnel — was founded as an offshoot of the Rolling Badges Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, of which he is president, it has agreed to provide 15 dogs to police departments.
All of the dogs from now on will be provided in honor of Judge, said Whinna.
In addition to the $7,500 donation, Whinna said, 4 Heroes has negotiated the donation, by Brian’s Harley-Davidson of Langhorne, Pa., of a 2016 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It will be raffled off at $20 per ticket, with 2,000 tickets to be sold, and all proceeds will go to help maintain the West Deptford K-9 unit, said Whinna.
K-9 units are worth so much to communities, not just for their assistance in detecting drugs and bringing criminals to justice, but for even more important work, said Whinna. The first time a dog finds a missing child or detects a bomb, it’s “worth its weight in gold,” he said.
You can donate to 4 Heroes at the group’s website.